New Hospital Brings New Hope in an Uncertain Year

Mark Scheurer, M.D. and Shaw Jenkins cutting the ceremonial opening ribbon to the Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women's Pavilion.

At 5:23 a.m. on Saturday, February 22, 2020, a bright blue ambulance arrived with the first patient for the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion.

Inside the 650,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art hospital, namesake Shawn Jenkins was waiting to witness that first patient’s arrival. Jenkins, a founder of Benefitfocus, donated $25 million to help build the hospital at 10 McClennan Banks Drive in Charleston, South Carolina.

He arrived around 4:15 a.m. on opening day so he wouldn’t miss a thing. “I felt like it was a real honor to be able to get up early and be with the team as they came in.”

In a carefully coordinated effort, scheduled down to the second, 36 ambulances delivered child after child to the new hospital. Pregnant women started to arrive, too, and were shown to a designated “stork” elevator that took them directly to the labor and delivery area in the Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion. The pavilion is named after a well-known Orangeburg woman whose family started the company Zeus Industries and donated millions to help build the new hospital.

By the end of the day, 157 children and women had been transferred to the new hospital from the old one, just a few blocks away. The new, technologically advanced, 250-bed hospital features much more space for patients and families, comfortable furniture for parents who want to spend the night in a child’s room, entire floors dedicated to conditions such as cancer and cardiology, and a helicopter landing pad designed to support a military-grade helicopter.

It also has the biggest NICU in the state, consisting primarily of private rooms with special accommodations for multiple births. It is one of a few facilities in the country to feature couplet-care rooms, where newborns and mothers can recover together in an intensive care setting. The dual facility of a children’s hospital and women’s pavilion allows for seamless care and the best overall outcomes for mothers and babies. Even before delivery, women’s health experts are able to provide care for high-risk pregnancies with the in-house Advanced Fetal Care Center, making this facility the safest place to deliver.

Additionally, the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital hosts the only Level 1 pediatric trauma program in the state as well as the only pediatric burn referral center in South Carolina.

Chief of Children’s and Women’s Health Mark Scheurer, M.D., who played a key role in shaping the direction of the new hospital, said the six years leading to opening day were an inspiring, exciting, and challenging journey.

In reflecting months later, Scheurer was grateful the move occurred when it did. Less than three weeks later, the Lowcountry community felt the global effects of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

The opening of the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion provided the opportunity for care team members to deliver the best care possible and generated additional resources across the enterprise. The old children’s hospital, now known as the University Hospital Extension, was freed up to admit COVID-19 patients. In the new facility, private rooms allowed for proper distancing and the extra space provided the opportunity to admit adult COVID-19 patients as well.

Care team members look forward to the day when supporters and community members can be welcomed into the facility with no pandemic barriers to fully appreciate the beacon of hope that this facility is for the local community, state and region.